Advertisement

Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 567–578 | Cite as

Effects of different tillage and straw retention practices on soil aggregates and carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils of the northwestern China

  • Jun Wu
  • Yeboah Stephen
  • Liqun Cai
  • Renzhi ZhangEmail author
  • Peng Qi
  • Zhuzhu Luo
  • Lingling Li
  • Junhong Xie
  • Bo Dong
Article
  • 15 Downloads

Abstract

Soil tillage and straw retention in dryland areas may affect the soil aggregates and the distribution of total organic carbon. The aims of this study were to establish how different tillage and straw retention practices affect the soil aggregates and soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) contents in the aggregate fractions based on a long-term (approximately 15 years) field experiment in the semi-arid western Loess Plateau, northwestern China. The experiment included four soil treatments, i.e., conventional tillage with straw removed (T), conventional tillage with straw incorporated (TS), no tillage with straw removed (NT) and no tillage with straw retention (NTS), which were arranged in a complete randomized block design. The wet-sieving method was used to separate four size fractions of aggregates, namely, large macroaggregates (LA, >2000 μm), small macroaggregates (SA, 250–2000 μm), microaggregates (MA, 53–250 μm), and silt and clay (SC, <53 μm). Compared to the conventional tillage practices (including T and TS treatments), the percentages of the macroaggregate fractions (LA and SA) under the conservation tillage practices (including NT and NTS treatments) were increased by 41.2%–56.6%, with the NTS treatment having the greatest effect. For soil layers of 0–5, 5–10 and 10–30 cm, values of the mean weight diameter (MWD) under the TS and NTS treatments were 10.68%, 13.83% and 17.65%, respectively. They were 18.45%, 19.15% and 14.12% higher than those under the T treatment, respectively. The maximum contents of the aggregate-associated SOC and TN were detected in the SA fraction, with the greatest effect being observed for the NTS treatment. The SOC and TN contents were significantly higher under the NTS and TS treatments than under the T treatment. Also, the increases in SOC and TN levels were much higher in the straw-retention plots than in the straw-removed plots. The macroaggregates (including LA and SA fractions) were the major pools for SOC and TN, regardless of tillage practices, storing 3.25–6.81 g C/kg soil and 0.34–0.62 g N/kg soil. Based on the above results, we recommend the NTS treatment as the best option to boost soil aggregates and to reinforce carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils in the semi-arid western Loess Plateau of northwestern China.

Keywords

soil aggregates soil organic carbon total nitrogen straw management tillage practices Loess Plateau 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was financially supported by the Scientific Research Start-up Funds for Openly-Recruited Doctors (GAU-KYQD-2018-39), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571594, 41661049) and the National Science and Technology Supporting Program of China (2015BAD22B04-03).

References

  1. Aminiyan M M, Sinegani A A S, Sheklabadi M. 2015. Aggregation stability and organic carbon fraction in a soil amended with some plant residues, nanozeolite, and natural zeolite. International Journal of Recycling of Organic Waste in Agriculture, 4(1): 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandyopadhyay P K, Saha S, Mani P K, et al. 2010. Effect of organic inputs on aggregate associated organic carbon concentration under long-term rice-wheat cropping system. Geoderma, 154(3–4): 379–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhattacharyya R, Das T K, Pramanik P, et al. 2013. Impacts of conservation agriculture on soil aggregation and aggregate-associated N under an irrigated agroecosystem of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 96(2–3): 185–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanco-Canqui H, Lal R. 2007. Soil structure and organic carbon relationships following 10 years of wheat straw management in no-till. Soil and Tillage Research, 95(1–2): 240–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bottinelli N, Angers D A, Hallaire V, et al. 2017. Tillage and fertilization practices affect soil aggregate stability in a Humic Cambisol of Northwest France. Soil and Tillage Research, 170: 14–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bremner J M, Breitenbeck G A. 1983. A simple method for determination of ammonium in semimicro-Kjeldahl analysis of soils and plant materials using a block digester. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 14(10): 905–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bronick C J, Lal R. 2005. Soil structure and management: a review. Geoderma, 124(1): 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cambardella C A, Elliott E T. 1994. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics of soil organic matter fractions from cultivated grassland soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 58(1): 123–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chinese Soil Taxonomy Cooperative Research Group. 1995. Chinese Soil Taxonomy (Revised Proposal). Beijing: Chinese Agricultural Science and Technology Press, 137–145. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. Devine S, Markewitz D, Hendrix P, et al. 2014. Soil aggregates and associated organic matter under conventional tillage, no-tillage, and forest succession after three decades. PloS ONE, 9(1): e84988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elliott E T, Cambardella C A. 1991. Physical separation of soil organic matter. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 34(1–4): 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. FAO. 1990. Soil map of the world: revised legend. World Soil Resources Report 60. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
  13. He L, Cleverly J, Chen C, et al. 2014. Diverse responses of winter wheat yield and water use to climate change and variability on the semiarid Loess Plateau in China. Agronomy Journal, 106(4): 1169–1178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jacinthe P A, Lal R, Kimble J M. 2002. Carbon dioxide evolution in runoff from simulated rainfall on long-term no-till and plowed soils in southwestern Ohio. Soil and Tillage Research, 66(1): 23–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jiang X, Hu Y, Bedell J H, et al. 2011. Soil organic carbon and nutrient content in aggregate-size fractions of a subtropical rice soil under variable tillage. Soil Use and Management, 27(1): 28–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kay B D, Angers D A, Groenevelt P H, et al. 1988. Quantifying the influence of cropping history on soil structure. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 68(2):359–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kushwaha C P, Tripathi S K, Singh K P. 2001. Soil organic matter and water-stable aggregates under different tillage and residue conditions in a tropical dryland agroecosystem. Applied Soil Ecology, 16(3): 229–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li X G, Wang Z F, Ma Q F, et al. 2007. Crop cultivation and intensive grazing affect organic C pools and aggregate stability in arid grassland soil. Soil and Tillage Research, 95(1–2): 172–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McBratney A, Field D. 2015. Securing our soil. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 61(4): 587–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meng Q, Sun Y, Zhao J, et al. 2014. Distribution of carbon and nitrogen in water-stable aggregates and soil stability under long-term manure application in solonetzic soils of the Songnen plain, northeast China. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 14(6): 1041–1049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nouwakpo S K, Song J, Gonzalez J M. 2018. Soil structural stability assessment with the fluidized bed, aggregate stability, and rainfall simulation on long-term tillage and crop rotation systems. Soil and Tillage Research, 178: 65–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sarker T C, Incerti G, Spccini R, et al. 2018. Linking organic matter chemistry with soil aggregate stability: Insight from 13C NMR spectroscopy. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 117: 175–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Six J, Paustian K, Elliott E T, et al. 2000. Soil structure and organic matter I. Distribution of aggregate-size classes and aggregate-associated carbon. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 64(2): 681–689.Google Scholar
  24. Somasundaram J, Chaudhary R S, Kumar D A, et al. 2018. Effect of contrasting tillage and cropping systems on soil aggregation, carbon pools and aggregate-associated carbon in rainfed Vertisols. European Journal of Soil Science, 69(5): 879–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Song K, Yang J, Xue Y, et al. 2016. Influence of tillage practices and straw incorporation on soil aggregates, organic carbon, and crop yields in a rice-wheat rotation system. Scientific Reports, 6: 36602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tisdall J M, Oades J M. 1982. Organic matter and water-stable aggregates in soils. Journal of Soil Science, 33(2): 141–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Walkley A, Black I A. 1934. An examination of the method for determining soil organic matter, and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37: 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yeboah S, Zhang R, Cai L, et al. 2016a. Greenhouse gas emissions in a spring wheat-field pea sequence under different tillage practices in semi-arid Northwest China. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 106(1): 77–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yeboah S, Zhang R, Cai L, et al. 2016b. Tillage effect on soil organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon and crop yield in spring wheat-field pea rotation. Plant Soil Environment, 62(6): 279–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zeng Q C, Darboux F, Man C, et al. 2018. Soil aggregate stability under different rain conditions for three vegetation types on the Loess Plateau (China). Catena, 167: 276–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhang R Z, Huang G B, Cai L Q, et al. 2013. Dry farmland practice involving multi-conservation tillage measures in the Loess Plateau. Chinese Journal of Eco-Agriculture, 21(1): 61–69. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  32. Zhang S, Li Q, Zhang X, et al. 2012. Effects of conservation tillage on soil aggregation and aggregate binding agents in black soil of Northeast China. Soil and Tillage Research, 124(4): 196–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhao X Z, Li F M, Mo F, et al. 2012. Integrated conservation solutions for the endangered Loess Plateau of Northwest China. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 44(3): 77–83.Google Scholar
  34. Zheng H B, Liu W R, Zheng J Y, et al. 2018. Effect of long-term tillage on soil aggregates and aggregate-associated carbon in black soil of Northeast China. PloS ONE, 13(6): e0199523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yeboah Stephen
    • 3
  • Liqun Cai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Renzhi Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peng Qi
    • 1
  • Zhuzhu Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lingling Li
    • 2
    • 4
  • Junhong Xie
    • 2
    • 4
  • Bo Dong
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesGansu Agricultural UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Gansu Provincial Key Lab of Arid land Crop ScienceGansu Agricultural UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Crops Research InstituteKumasiGhana
  4. 4.College of AgronomyGansu Agricultural UniversityLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations